The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Yolanda Martinez Lopez

Yolanda Martinez Lopez
Secretary of Social and Human Development at the Government of Oaxaca, México, since February 2018.

Fighting against poverty and reducing inequality are issues that I have been interested in throughout my life and professional career. As I grew up in a place where prosperity and wealth have yet to be achieved, I witnessed poverty, inequality and social exclusion first hand. This prompted me to focus my academic and professional career on analysing, investigating, and offering solutions that will generate equality and end poverty in Mexico and my home state, Oaxaca. 

The SDG's have been the core of the social policy agenda during my mandate as Oaxaca’s Secretary of Social and Human Development. I have been working on 2030 Agenda strategies for designing and planning its implementation at different levels: subnational and among the municipalities. Hence, my motivation for working hard in creating better policies that aim to end poverty and inequality. 

I believe that professionalism, leadership and creativity are essential to success toward any goal. Throughout my personal and professional life, I have consistently demonstrated this in situations that required clarity and focus. I would like to share specific experiences that have helped me hone my communication, organizational, teamwork, leadership, and negotiation skills so far. 

I worked as a special assistant to Luis Videgaray Caso, Ph.D. for seven years, supporting him through important political positions. As any high-level leader, his staff team constitutes an essential pillar to ensure the smooth running of his office. Consequently, making important decisions with the use of best judgment and speed becomes essential for solving the problems that arise on a daily basis. Overall, I now understand the know-how needed to operate a political system and I have a clear understanding of the current political affairs.

During the five years I worked in the legislative branch, I interacted with legislators that presided over important committees such as the Finance and Public Credit Committee (2006-2009) and the Budget Committee (2009-2011), I familiarized myself with writing initiatives and negotiating with the different political parties. Moreover, I acquired the know-how to direct propositions and initiatives for being approved in Congress, particularly the economic package that determines the income and expenses of the country.

Furthermore, I participated in two high-level political campaigns - first for the Governor of the State of Mexico, the largest State in the country, then in the 2012 Campaign for President of the Republic. These experiences allowed me to become a participant and decision maker in both campaign teams, thus, they showed me how a visionary plan can lead a candidate towards victory. Perhaps more importantly, I visited all the national territory, where I witnessed first-hand the inequality that my country suffers. This inspired me to seek a position where I can influence policy in this field.

As a public servant at the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, I was involved in the decision-making process of the government’s goal of transforming and modernizing Mexico.  For example, I experienced the creation of the “Pacto por México” that agglomerated the interests of all political parties and also served as the main driver in passing thirteen constitutional reforms in sectors including energy, education, telecommunications, banking, and public finance. As a result, I observed the whole process of creating and implementing public policies that helped young entrepreneurs to find new funding for reducing the size of the informal sector by a stunning forty percent in 2012. 

Now, as the Secretary of Social Development in Oaxaca, I have developed the knowledge and experience in planning, design and implementation of strategies, for fighting against poverty, working with cross-sectorial actors among the local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, as well as fostering the collaboration of the social and private sectors, and the participation of the three orders of government. In addition, I have done evaluation and monitoring of policies, strategies, programs and plans through the establishment of performance indicators. Finally, I am responsible for coordinating the process to implement the 2030 Agenda as I am hosting the alternate presidency of the State Council on the 2030 Agenda implementation.